Music has always been my life’s blood, my go to place when life was good or bad, my therapy, my self expression and my employment. It was only a matter of time before it became my all encompassing way of life. My main instrument is the piano, but I grabbed as many opportunities to learn other instruments along the way, including the violin, viola, flute, guitar and mandolin.
Music and drama were always integral throughout my early life, and I went on to employ both these disciplines in the following years, bringing me great joy and several accomplishments.
From 1978 - 1983 I attended Dundee College of Education studying class music teaching, piano, violin, flute viola and singing. It was during this period that I met Ricky Ross, who asked me to join his band at that time. We played around Dundee, then I moved on to Edinburgh Napier University and Ricky moved to Glasgow, where he formed Deacon Blue.
At Napier, I was very fortunate to study piano under the fabulous Margaret Murray McLeod, www.margaretmurraymcleod.co.uk
After Napier I went on to teach piano, violin and flute to both adults and children for many years, and I also worked as a professional musician playing in piano bars, and a wide variety of bands.
In 1987, I was engaged by the Arts In Fife as a Community Arts Assistant, where I composed for children’s theatre. During this period I was also a member of Fife Opera. After my time with the Arts in Fife, I was also employed as an actor in a community arts programme bringing drama to primary school children all over Scotland.
In 1989 I was employed by Fife Council to run the music department in a day centre for adults with learning difficulties, where I employed the use of music therapy, and group composition. I wore many hats during the course of this employment. Alongside my duties as a Day Centre Officer, I also became the musician, composer, director, and writer of the drama group. I went on to form Quest Theatre Company in response to stories that the drama group told me about, relating to the fact they were afraid of children, who were extremely cruel towards them. That evening I devised a 45 minute educative performance in response, encompassing the groups talents and abilities. I sought funding and organised every aspect of Quest. From washing and ironing, bookings and designing costumes to directing, composing and choreography. We entered the education and community system, performing to over 50,000 people. The response to the company was more than I could ever hope for. Quest went on to win a Scottish Television award. I was able to offer paid employment to the actors, through the Discharge Programme. Quest toured Holland, who were so well received that similar companies were set up to tackle the same problems.
In 1993, I had an accident at work, which ended my abilities to continue to work in the same field. Over the years following the accident, I became interested in composing for media, but did not have the means to do so, however, I have built up a solid home studio which now allows me the space and time to follow this path. My first short film, directed by Tim Fraser-Granados, is on YouTube. I look forward to working in this field in the future, and feel that I can bring my experience as someone who understands the very nature of drama, coupled with my history as a composer and musician, to come to a successful conclusion in any projects that come my way.
Although I have written a classical piano album, I am interested in working in the orchestral field as in Tim’s film, or indeed any challenge that comes my way.